Old rivalry bound to up cup intensity

THE tale of two dominant cities will be played out on Sunday in Scone when Tamworth First and Second XI clash with Maitland for the final representative games of season 2013-14.

Old rivalries will be settled for another year with the Coal Board Cup and the 2TMO Cup set to light up the Hunter town.

While Tamworth dominated both the War Veterans Cup and the Connolly Cup this season, going through undefeated, Maitland have also dominated Hunter Valley Cricket.

Last weekend Maitland set up the clashes with two good wins against Singleton in the John Bull Shield and RA Dransfield Trophy Colts Final.

Sunday’s JBS final was a tense low-scoring affair at Howe Park.

Maitland batted first, but was all out for just 128, with Shannon Bills top scoring with 31.

Singleton fought back after stumbling to be 4-8 after three overs, although they never fully recovered and fell short getting bowled out in the 43rd over for 113.

Mitch Field and Matthew Trappel both taking three wickets, Trappel being awarded man of the match.

The Colts final was not so close with Singleton also being dismissed for 128, before cruising to victory.

Maitland captain Steve Abel took 2-36 before opening the bat to score a 93 not out to help his side pass the total only two wickets down.

A fortnight ago both Tamworth sides also had easy finals victories against Armidale and Moree.

Tamworth selector Adam Jones said  the two sides meet fairly often in the inter-region clash.

“There is a fair bit of rivalry there that should make for some great games of cricket,” Jones said.

Tamworth have named two sides that are very close to full strength for the occasion.

The two sides have been called by skipper Tom Groth and Jones as some of the best and most balanced to come through for a few years.

The sides’ strengths are also mirrored by each other, and the seasons successes are a result of this depth.

Quick bowling and strong opening  batsmen are the core of both Tamworth sides, although solid middle orders and wicket taking part-timers have also featured.

Both sides have captaining keepers that are leading the way as well.

“Matt Everett is great as a young captain and opening batsmen,” Jones said.

“Everett and (Adam) Loley have been setting great platforms for the young guys in seconds, and we expect nothing different on Sunday.”

The Hunter competition play more short form cricket than Tamworth, so aggressive play is part of their game.

“Our bowlers are our strength and our batsmen can chase any total down so we don’t mind a bit of aggression,” Jones said.

After being so dominant in the Northern Inland competitions, this week should be a bit tighter.

“It will be good to get tested and have to work for the win,” Jones said.

“But at the same time we want to walk away with two pieces of silverware and we don’t mind how we get it.”

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